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Jed Parsons talks Midnight Feast

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Jed Parson takes his music very seriously. But he is equally serious about having fun with it too.

So while he spent over 18 months making sure that his debut album Midnight Feast was just right, the videos for singles such as ‘Get Lost’ and ‘Everybody’s Stupid’ show that the Christchurch singer-songwriter’s is very much up for a laugh as well.

Then there is Tupperware Jungle. “Tupperware Jungle is very much a joke band of mine – it’s just me and a couple of friends,”chuckles Parsons over the phone from Christchurch. “We bill ourselves as a jazz band and we turn up at unsuspecting venues and play hour long renditions of Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’. At our last gig, it went from the Elton John version to like free jazz… it’s a very fun gig.”

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Homeward Bound: Holly Arrowsmith interview

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There’s no place like home, goes the popular saying – and it’s one that rings very true with Holly Arrowsmith.

Homesickness and identity are at the heart of A Dawn I Remember, the second full length album from the award-winning singer-songwriter, which was written at a variety of locations, both here in New Zealand and in the US.

“I started writing the album when I moved from Arrowtown to Auckland a few years ago,” she explains over the phone from, appropriately enough, from Queenstown, where she was about to perform. “I think it was kind of a wakeup call to how much of our identity is in the place we are from and the people who know us – that kind of safe environment. When you lose all of that at once, you kind of lose your bearings. I felt really disoriented for a long time.”

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Tami Neilson talks Sassafrass

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Sassafrass!, the sassy new album from Tami Neilson, could be seen as her first soul album, but the Canadian-born songstress likens it more to a painter utilising different combinations of their colour palette.

“I paint with same palette of colours and for me, those colours are soul, rockabilly, country, gospel and blues,” she says. “All those genres come from the same place, so it feels very natural to move within those styles. Sometimes you use more of one colour than another, so I guess this one has more of the soul one. But all the colours are still present.”

So while the likes of ‘Stay Outta of My Business’ and ‘Smoking Gun’ give Sassafrass! a distinct retro soul sheen, there’s also room for rockabilly (‘Kitty Cat’) and country (‘One Thought Of You’, ‘A Woman’s Pain’).

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Arma Del Amor: Danny Fairley and Martine Harding interview

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Being based in Wanaka is both a blessing and a curse, according to Danny Fairley and Martine Harding – aka Arma Del Amor – who have just released their debut album Onna Bugeisha.

On the plus side, they agree it’s a fantastic place to live but they do miss not being able to interact regularly with other music makers. “Wanaka is amazing but I definitely struggle not having other musicians to sit down and jam with,” Fairley admits. “When we flew to Wellington to mix the album, we got to hang out with all these musicians and you come away feeling really inspired.”

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Brent Eccles talks Disappointments

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“It’s a great name for a blues band,” chuckles Brent Eccles about The Disappointments, which finds the drummer reuniting with old chums Hammond Gamble and Andy MacDonald. “We just laughed and laughed…”

Although they took the recording of their self-titled album very seriously, having fun was the main priority for the trio, who were members of pub rockers Street Talk back in the 70s. These days, Eccles has his hands full running the New Zealand arm of leading concert promotion company Frontier Touring, and he has enjoyed getting back to just playing music again.

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Estère: all her Design

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She may sing about being a control freak on her full length debut album My Design, On Others’ Lives, but Estère is reluctant to classify herself as one in real life.

“I wouldn’t say I am a control freak but I’d say that I like to have input into all my creative endeavours,” is how the Wellington artist explains it.

Nevertheless, there is a certainly a determinedly single-minded approach to both how she makes music and releases it. For example, not many young artists would think of making their debut a double, but that is what Estère opted for with My Design, On Others’ Lives, which she wrote, performed and produced herself. Although part of it was released digitally as an EP last year, her first record – available here on vinyl, CD and cassette as well digital – stands as an ambitious and impressive statement of intent.

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Carnivorous Plant Society: Finn Scholes on The New King

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The second full-length album from Carnivorous Plant Society, The New King,  finds the quirky instrumentalists adding to some vocals to the mix.

But don’t expect to hear leader Finn Scholes’ voice anytime soon. The affable trumpeter admits: “I’ve tried quite a lot doing demo vocals but I just think I have got a stink voice.”

So instead Scholes turned some old his old friends and collaborators to step up to the microphone on The New King.

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Frank Burkitt Q&A

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“A great creative experience” is how Frank Burkitt sums up the recording of his band’s third full length Raconteur.

And although it’s named after a late mentor of his, Burkitt proves to an equally engaging raconteur as he talks us his through the new record.

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Hopetoun Brown: Nick Atkinson on Don’t Let Them Lock You Up

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If the rhythm is cooking then it’s easier to overlook any other sins in a tune, jokes Hopetoun Brown’s Nick Atkinson.

He and Tim Stewart have little fear in the latter regard – their latest album Don’t Let Them Lock You Up is stacked with catchy, horn-powered gem – but Atkinson agrees that album #3 is probably Hopetoun Brown’s funkiest yet.

“I suppose we’ve got a lot more drums on this record whereas on the others we had a lot of stomping and clapping,” he tells NZ Music Business. “We’ve also got a little bit of a electric bass guitar on a few tracks, we’ve got synthesizers and we’ve even got a drum machine on one of the tracks. Although we’re not sampling I suppose the way we built the rhythm parts of the tracks sort of ape that approach.”

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Nadia Reid Q+A

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Recorded once again with Ben Edwards at his Sitting Room Studio in Lyttleton, Nadia Reid describes Preservation – her follow-up to her internationally acclaimed debut Listen To Formation Look For The Signs – as an “ode to self-reflection and self-betterment”.

Although it was recorded once again at Lyttelton’s Sitting Room Studios – Tami Neilson, Marlon Williams, Julia Jacklin – her sophomore set finds the New Zealand singer-songwriter in a more rockier mode – although she remains wary of music tags.

We caught up with Reid on the eve of the release of Preservation.

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